Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path National Trail is some 180 miles of striking coastal scenery, awash with wildlife, fascinating archaeological remnants of bygone times and idyllic beaches.
Spending much of its time on cliff top paths, the trail will show you remarkable sights ranging from limestone structures to coastal stacks and bridges.
Appropriately enough, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail is almost entirely contained within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
The walking is easy most of the way, though some sections present a more demanding challenge than others, that challenge usually being sometimes steep ascents and descents of cliff ranges.
The route is generally well served by local amenities, though some sections are quite remote.
This includes sun block in summer, as well as plenty of drinking water and appropriate cold weather gear for non-summer months.
The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path National Trail is split up into 12 sections, each of which is introduced below.
Due to the popularity of the area and the trail, you're advised to book accommodation in advance where possible.
The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path National Trail starts here at the St Dogmaels slipway, near Poppit.
St Dogmaels - Newport
On this remote section the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path National Trail starts as it means to go on, quickly taking you up onto seaside clifftops after a brief few miles on the road initially.
There is some steep climbing to do on much of this section, but you are rewarded with great tremendous views of the local geology, plants and wildlife. There are various paths taking you down to the shore, but beware, as some of them are steep and slippy.
As you near Newport, a section of the path is prone to high tide flooding in springtime. These waters generally take an hour or two to recede and official advice is to take the time to relax and take in the surroundings for that time, rather than find an alternative route.
There are the remnants of Neolithic and Iron Age constructions to be seen in addition to the numerous natural features.
Newport - Goodwick
A more gentle section than that from St Dogmaels to Newport, with much of it running close to the edge of 100ft cliffs. There is some climbing to be done though, as you negotiate coves and inlets.
One particularly steep climb after Cwm-yr-Eglwys at Dinas Island will see you ascending to 400ft, but there is an alternative path provided along the valley floor for those less keen to tackle such a challenge.
Highlights on this section include Fishguard Fort and town itself. There's interesting history to be explored here with regards to the foiling of an attempted French invasion in 1797.
Goodwick - Trefin
This is one of the longer sections on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path National Trail, with remote, wild elements and no shops or cafes usefully close to the route for most of the time. You're advised to be sure of taking enough water and provisions with you to see you through the route.
More cliff top walking in this section, with some ascent and descent to be done, though generally less steep than on the previous sections.
Highlights include tremendous views over Fishguard Bay and later Pwell Deri, together with impressive geology at Pen Anglas. Strumble Head Lighthouse is also to be found on this section, as is the Garn Fawr Iron Age Fort, both worth a visit.
Trefin - Whitesands
By contrast to the last section, this is one of the shortest sections on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, making its way through landscape sometimes reflecting an industrial, quarrying past.
It's mostly atop cliffs with gentle gradients once up there but there is some steeper climbing to be done, and there are some steep steps to negotiate (though an alternative path is available to avoid these).
Official advice is to beware of slippy and crumbling cliff rock on this stage, and to beware of getting too close to the edge when taking in some of the views.
There is something for everyone on this section ranging from the popular beach at Whitesands Bay, through Iron Age and Neolithic artefacts to geological features like the impressive Penberi tors.
Whitesands - Solva
Another shorter, more gentle section with civilisation much more in evidence than on earlier sections - there are shops and cafes to be found close to much of this route as you make your way towards the pretty coastal village of Solva.
There is less variation in cliff height too, so less climbing and descending to be done.
There are more Iron Age forts to be seen on this section too, along with many great views, such as that over St Brides Bay towards Skomer Island.
Lovers of wildlife are well catered for with porpoises and sea birds to be seen frequenting Ramsey Sound, in addition to some colourful banks of wild flowers along the route.
Solva - Little Haven
The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path National Trail serves up more climbing and descending on this section, though to aid you in this, the route is well served by pubs and cafes.
There are more views ranging from the grand to the picturesque, more Iron Age features to be explored and more sandy beaches to enjoy.
These go together with the steep climbs and crumbling cliff faces to provide a more widely ranging breadth of terrain and experience than on some other routes.
Take care at Broadhaven beach though, as deceptive headlands and patches of quicksand render it one to be explored only by those well acquainted with the tides and the beach itself.
Your destination of Little Haven offers a picturesque village scene who's charming features make it a popular spot with tourists.
Little Haven - Dale
This is one of The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path National Trail's easier sections. Though still routed along weathered cliff tops, the rock changes to sandstone in the section's latter stages, and this provides a more stable cliff base with less crumbling and more stability than has been seen so far.
Features range from geological sights like the impressive cliffs at Fox's Hole and the Marloe's Sands to historical interest ranging from the Mesolithic at Nab Head through to connections with Henry Tudor and his exploits against the French.
Add in great views, Dale's modern day watersports, the world renowned wildlife sites of Skomer & Skokholm Islands and this section truly does offer something for everyone!
Dale - Neyland
A contrasting section, with much road-walking to do and tide-dependent causeways to be crossed at The Gann and Sandy Haven. You are advised to time your walk in order to arrive at The Gann Causeway 2 hours before low tide.
The Iron Age influence is still to be seen with forts at Great Castle Head. This section also shows signs of its more contemporary working status with local input from Isambard Kingdom Brunel on the Railway Terminus at Neyland, and supporting elements of the modern day oil and gas industry to be found with tanker terminals and refineries at the tail end of the section.
Neyland - Angle
This section of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path National Trail is often cut short or missed out due to its not featuring the high degree of cliff top travel, and a fair amount of road walking to be done, as well as self-negotiation of larger towns.
That said, there is still much to be appreciated, including the Neyland Marina and Pembroke Castle as you make your way over easy walking to the picturesque village of Angle.
Angle - Bosherston
Another section of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path National Trail rich in geological and wildlife features, however, the runs through the Castlemartin Military Artillery Range which can cause logistical problems as it should be considered off limits unless both East and West ranges are open, which they’re often not, for safety reasons. There is a phone number to call which will let you know the range's status: + 44 (0)1646 662287.
The range aside, there are many things to recommend this section of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path National Trail - the popular surfing beach at Freshwater West, wildlife in abundance at Greenbridge, and Stack Rocks where a wide range of sea birds choose to nest (access being dependent on range activities), the 13th Century St Govan's Chapel and the dunes and wildlife at Broad Haven South to name but four.
Bosherston - Manorbier
This section of the trail is well catered for by transport links and local services. The path follows clifftop terrain again, with that being a mixture of limestone and sandstone.
The walking itself varies in intensity with the section from Stackpole Quay to the Manorbier approach being quite demanding.
Sites to be seen include impressive limestone geology, Features from the Iron Age and later, attractive beaches and yet more coastal wildlife with such bird-life hot spots as Stackpole Head to be found en-route.
Manorbier - Amroth
A longer stage to round off your route along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path National Trail. Many walkers choose to walk much of this section on the various beaches the path passes by, but you should be aware that there is a danger of being cut off by the tides.
This route is more heavily used than many others, partly as it tends to run through more populated, developed areas than other sections.
However, that should not put you off as there are still fine views to see, and much of interest to take in, including the walled town of Tenby, legacies of the mining industry.
You can continue reading about other National Trails and Long Distance Walks using the links at the bottom of the page.
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